Thursday, July 30, 2015

2 New Agents Seeking Writers: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Nonfiction, Thrillers and more

Here are two new literary agents looking for clients. DongWon Song (Howard Morhaim Literary) is seeking science fiction and fantasy – especially epic fantasy or high fantasy. He is also interested in books about food, science, and pop culture. Laura Mamelok (Susanna Lea Associates) is looking for literary fiction, high-end commercial fiction, women’s fiction, literary crime/thrillers, and young adult fiction with crossover appeal. In nonfiction, she is looking for narrative nonfiction, current affairs/journalism, memoir, and humor.



Laura Mamelok of Susanna Lea Associates

About Laura: Laura Mamelok is a literary agent at Susanna Lea Associates, where she also sells foreign rights. SLA, which has offices in New York, London, and Paris, represents a range of fiction and nonfiction, both commercial and literary. Laura is French-American and has lived in both Paris and New York. She obtained her BA in comparative literature at Barnard College and her MA in comparative literature and film at Columbia University and the University of Paris 7. Prior to joining SLA in 2009, she worked as a literary scout for Maria B. Campbell Associates. She lives in Brooklyn.

What she is seeking: Laura is primarily interested in literary fiction, high-end commercial fiction, women’s fiction, literary crime/thrillers, and young adult fiction with crossover appeal. On the nonfiction side, she is looking for narrative nonfiction, current affairs/journalism, memoir, and humor. She’s drawn to international stories and settings, in both fiction and nonfiction. Above all, she is on the lookout for fresh voices, strong storytelling, and original ideas.

Submission guidelines: Queries by email only to lmamelok [at] susannalea.com. Please send a concise query letter, including email address, phone number, and any relevant information (previous publications, etc.), a brief synopsis, and the first three chapters and/or proposal. Please include the word “Query” in the subject of your email. She considers all queries received, but will respond only if interested.

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DongWon Song of Howard Morhaim Literary

About DongWon: DongWon Song is a literary agent at Howard Morhaim Literary. He was formerly an editor at Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. There, he launched multiple New York Times bestselling series, including FEED by Mira Grant and LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey. He was the first hire at a publishing startup, Zola Books, and while there oversaw content and eventually became the head of product for the ecommerce and ebook apps. He is a graduate of Duke University with a BA in English and Economics.

What he is seeking: Science fiction and fantasy – especially epic fantasy or high fantasy for both adults and teens. He is also interested in nonfiction, especially food writing, science, and pop culture.

Submission guidelines: E-query along with three sample chapters (for fiction) or full proposal (for nonfiction) to dongwon [at] morhaimliterary.com. Average response time is 6 to 8 weeks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Round 13 of the Amazon vs Everybody Wars: Amazon vs Authors, Agents, and Booksellers


The Amazon Wars are back! (You knew they weren't over.)

In this most recent skirmish, authors, agents, and booksellers have banded together to call for a Dept of Justice investigation into Amazon's monopolistic tactics.

In a recent ruling against Apple, even the judges expressed some doubts as to whether they were looking at the right target.

"Would it not matter that all those people got together to defeat a monopolist? It’s like the mice that got together to put a bell on a cat,” U.S. Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs told the Justice Department’s lawyer, Malcolm Stewart.

Apple is hardly a mouse. It has its own antitrust suit to deal with over iTunes. Nevertheless, Jacobs does have a point.

When Apple began its efforts to undermine Amazon, Amazon controlled 93% of the ebook market. That figure has since fallen, but because Amazon is secretive about its market share, nobody really knows how much it controls.

The truth is that the market rests in the hands of very few companies. Whether they collude or compete, the end result is always the same: Authors lose out.
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Authors, Booksellers & Agents Call for DoJ to Investigate Amazon

By Judith Rosen

Publishers Weekly, Jul 14, 2015

Authors United, a loosely knit group of authors who banded together last year to apply pressure to Amazon during its then-dispute with Hachette, has called on its members to sign a new letter destined for the antitrust division of the Department of Justice.

Last fall Douglas Preston, the thriller writer who formed Authors United, aired his group's concerns about Amazon's domination of the retail book market in a meeting with the DoJ. Now, although the Hachette-Amazon disputed has ended, he said enough has not been done about Amazon's position in the marketplace.

In an e-mail sent Monday afternoon, calling on authors to sign the new letter, Preston wrote: “The settlement of the dispute did not change the fundamental problem: That one corporation now dominates the book market in the United States. We believe Amazon has used its power in ways that harm the interests of authors, readers, booksellers, and the publishing industry as a whole.”

Preston composed the letter to the DoJ, which will be sent days after Amazon celebrates its 20th anniversary, with the Authors Guild. The letter has also been endorsed by the American Booksellers Association and the Association of Authors’ Representatives.

“Today a single company, Amazon, has gained unprecedented power over America’s market for books,” it begins. “We are not experts in antitrust law, and this letter is not a legal brief. But we are authors with a deep, collective experience in this field, and we agree with the authorities in economics and law who have asserted that Amazon’s dominant position makes it a monopoly as a seller of books and a monopsony as a buyer of books.”

Read more HERE.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

15 Writing Contests in August - No Entry Fees

There are several interesting writing contests this month. Of special note is Library Journal's self-published book award. Library Journal is a prestigious publication, read by librarians all over the country, so if you have self-published in Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, or Fantasy, do consider entering.

In another interesting competition, Brigantine Media is offering an advance of $2000 and a publishing contract for a manuscript of any genre. (Take a look at their contract HERE.) (And if you win, don't sign it until it has been reviewed by a lawyer. Their out-of-print clause needs modification.)

Good luck!

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Page Street Cookbook Contest. Submit your idea for a great cookbook, and you could get published! Genre: Cookbook. Prize: Publishing contract. Deadline: August 1, 2015.

Boardman Tasker PrizeRestrictions: Books published between 1st August 2014 and 31st October 2015 in the UK. Genre: Books with mountain, not necessarily mountaineering, theme whether fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry, written in the English language. Prize: £3,000.00. Deadline: August 1, 2015.

Milwaukee Irish FestGenre: Poetry. Entries should have a culture/literary relation to either Ireland, Irish-America, or to Irish poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: August 1, 2015.

The Governor General’s Literary AwardsRestrictions: Books must have been written, translated or illustrated by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Genre: Best English-language and the best French-language book will be chosen in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Children’s Literature (text), Children’s Literature (illustrated books) and Translation (from French to English). Prize: $1,000 - $25,000. Deadline: August 1, 2015.

Costa Short Story AwardRestrictions: Residents of UK and Ireland. Genre: Short story. Prize: £3,500.00. Deadline: August 5, 2015.

RBC Taylor PrizeRestrictions: Citizens or residents of Canada. Must be published author. Genre: Literary nonfiction. Prize: $25,000 (CAN). Deadline: August 7, 2015 for books published between May 30 and July 31, 2015.

Publish or Perish Contest is sponsored by Brigantine Media. Genre: Any.  Results Announced: September 15, 2015. Length limit: 150,000 words for the manuscript; 5,000 words for the marketing plan. Prize: $2,000 advance against royalties and a contract to publish the book. Deadline: August 15, 2015. Read more details HERE.

The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary ExcellenceGenre: A work of fiction (novel or collection of short stories) that will be published in 2015. Galleys for a 2015 publication are also accepted. Restrictions: Author must be an African-American U.S. citizen. No self-published works. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: August 15, 2015.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. Must  be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100.000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: August 15, 2015.

Library Journal 's Self-Published Ebook AwardsGenres: Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy. Open to all English-language self-published ebooks. No restrictions on date of publication. Prize: $1,000.00 USD plus review in Library Journal. Deadline: August 31, 2015.

I is Another - short story competitionGenre: A story in the first person about someone who is not you but which is about a subject close to year heart. Therefore the storyline will really matter to you but the story should not be autobiographical. It should have a strong theme such as betrayal, sorrow, lust, jealousy or revenge and be under 2000 words. Prize: £200. The winning short story and runners-up will be published in their online magazine. Deadline: August 31, 2015.

Epigram Books Fiction PrizeRestrictions: Authors must be Singaporean, Singaporean permanent resident or Singapore-born. Genre: A full-length, original and unpublished novel written in the English language. Prize: $20,000. Deadline: August 31, 2015.

Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Author must be resident of Upstate New York. Genre: Book of poems in English, at least 48 pages long, published between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Prize: $2,000.  Deadline: August 31, 2015.

SwitchbackGenres: Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction. Prize: $200 and publication.  Deadline: August 31, 2015.

Young Lions Fiction AwardRestrictions: Open to US citizens 35 years of age or younger. Genre: Novel or a collection of short stories published between January 2015 and December 2015. Prize: $10,000.00. Deadline: August 31, 2015.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

11 Writers' Conferences in August

Summer is in full swing, but soon it will come to an end. This is a good time to slow down, take stock, and prepare for the mad dash of Fall. Fortunately, there are a few good conferences that will allow you to do just that.

There are several good conferences this coming month focusing on the craft of writing, which is timely. August is the "dead month" for agents and editors - a time when they catch up on their old queries, and take a break from receiving new ones. (See: When Not to Contact and Agent: What Writers Should Do During the Dead Month.)

Whether you decide to retreat with other writers, or simply head out to the garden shed, this is a good month for writers to stop a spell, and ruminate.

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Writing Short Nonfiction: Picture Books and Articles. Aug 2 - 6, 2015, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by Highlights Foundation. Workshop faculty: Debra Hess, Deborah Heiligman, Barbara Kerley. Two one-on-one critique sessions with a member of the faculty included.

Green Mountain Writers Conference. August 3 - 7, Chittenden, Vermont. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as one-on-one consultations, lectures, publishing discussions, and readings. The faculty includes poets Christian McEwen, Peter Money, and Verandah Porche; fiction writers Elizabeth Rosner and Phoebe Stone; and creative nonfiction writers Chuck Clarino and Yvonne Daley.

Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. August 6 - 8, Fort Bragg, California. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as panels and workshops with editors and agents, craft lectures, readings, and discussion forums on publishing and marketing. The faculty includes poets Albert Flynn DeSilver and Indigo Moor; fiction writers David Corbett, Catherine Ryan Hyde, and Lisa Locascio; and creative nonfiction writer Sheila Bender. 

Cape Cod Writers Center Conference. August 6 - 9, Hyannis, Massachusetts. Workshops and craft classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as manuscript consultations and mentoring sessions with editors and agents. The faculty includes poets Marge Piercy and Kevin Pilkington; fiction writers Claire Cook, David Anthony Durham, Indira Ganesan, Kate Klise, and Charles Salzberg; nonfiction writer Jerry Armenic; editor Chantelle Aimée Osman (A Twist of Karma Entertainment, LLC); and agents Michael Carr (Veritas), April Eberhardt (April Eberhardt Literary), Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank (Fairbank Literary Representation), Amaryah Orenstein (GO Literary), and Rick Richter (Zachary Shuster Harmsworth). Application Deadline: July 24, 2015.

Florida Authors and Publishers Association Annual Conference. Aug 7 - 8, 2015, Orlando, Florida. Professional development sessions designed to provide authors and publishers with up-to-date publishing resources. Faculty: Steven Spatz, President of BookBaby; Dete Meserve, President Wind Dancer Films; Tara Alemany, Aleweb Social marketing; Ken Countess, Constant Contact; Carol Topp, CPA; David Essel, inspirational speaker; Saundra Kelley, storyteller.

HippoCamp Creative Nonfiction Conference. August 7 - 9, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. craft and query workshops, panel discussions, lectures, open mics, and readings for creative nonfiction writers. Participating nonfiction writers include Amy Jo Burns, Tara Caimi, Viannah E. Duncan, Sarah Einstein, Wendy Fontaine, Robert Long Foreman, Lee Gutkind, Vicki Mayk, Jennifer McGuiggan, Kate McIntyre, Lori M. Myers, Matt Skillen, James Stafford, D. Watkins, Allison Williams, and Stefanie Wortman; participating publishing professionals include Tyler Barton (Triangle), Carol Cool Erin Dorney (Triangle and Third Point Press), Nicole Frail (Skyhorse Publishing), Monique Antonette Lewis (At The Inkwell), Gale Martin (Harcum College), Donna Talarico (Hippocampus Magazine), and Jim Warner (Quiddity).

Willamette Writers Conference. August 7 - 9, Portland, Oregon. 100 workshops conducted by more than 50 seasoned pros in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, screenwriting, manuscript editing, publishing, self-publishing and promotion, pitching, entering writing contests, research and business. Whether you write self-help books, historic fiction, blockbuster Hollywood screenplays, mysteries, romance, magazine articles, sci-fi, plays, children's books, humor, self publish or simply need help marketing yourself as a professional, you'll find helpful guidance and keen insights. Other conference features include advance manuscript critiques, filmlab, silent auction, awards banquet, and group and one-on-one pitch sessions with New York literary agents and editors and Hollywood film agents, managers, and producers.

Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute. August 7 - 9, Hagerstown, Maryland. The annual MAFWI summer conference offers workshops and breakout sessions by bestselling authors, college faculty, and experienced public relations professionals. From story fundamentals like plot and point of view to seasoned advice on how to market your work, there is something for writers of every genre.

Deadly Ink Mystery Conference. August 7 - 9, New Brunswick, New Jersey. 12 workshops, 2-tracks for writers and fans. Guest of Honor: Brad Parks, Toastmaster: E.F. Watkins, Fan Guest of Honor: Ilene Schneider,Other authors: S.W. Hubbard, Other authors: Jeff Markowitz, Jane Cleland, Jack Getze, Roberta Rogow, S.A. Solomon, Annamaria Alfieri, Richard Belsky, and more.

Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, Aug. 13–16, Corte Madera, Calif. Writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. There are optional, working field trips to explore the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, food writers, restauranteurs, guidebook writers, and more.

Unicorn Writers' Conference, August 15, Purchase, NY. Make connections and get feedback with dozens of opportunities for one-on-one face time with industry insiders, including: One-on-one manuscript reading and feed-back sessions with agents and editors, Networking breakfast, lunch and dinner, After-conference networking party. Perfect Your Craft with a choice of seven workshops to attend from over thirty different sessions offered in: Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir, Mystery, Poetry, Screenwriting, Children’s Literature, Romance, Horror/Sci-Fi. Get the insider’s edge with a vast selection of rare, how-to tutorials from every department within a publishing company, including: Marketing/Publicity, Art/Production, Contracts, Special sales, Media training, Pitching Your Work, How to appeal to agents and editors, Various writing workshops, Literary agents and editors - discussion panels. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

3 New Agents Actively Seeking Clients: Fantasy, Romance, NA, YA, Nonfiction, and More

Here are three new literary agents looking for clients. Amanda O’Connor (Trident Media) is seeking general-interest and upmarket nonfiction, spirituality and wellness, and literary fiction. Mallory C. Brown (TriadaUS) is interested in young adult, new adult, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction, and nonfiction. Pete Knapp of New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. is looking for middle grade and young adult fiction across all genres, and he's also seeking smart, high-concept adult fiction.

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Mallory C. Brown of TriadaUS


About Mallory: Literary agent Mallory C. Brown is with TriadaUS. Some of Mallory’s favorite books at the moment are: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Gone Girl, Outlander, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

What she is seeking: Young adult, new adult, women’s fiction, and nonfiction. She is especially drawn to pieces with strong character-driven plots and witty humor. She loves contemporary fiction, low fantasy, and romance. Mallory also appreciates a well-placed comma and hopes you do, too.

How to submit: E-query mallory [at] triadaus.com. When querying, please include the first ten ms pages in the body of the e-mail after your query.

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About Amanda: Amanda O’Connor joined Trident Media Group from Penguin Random House where she worked as an editor. Previously, she had been a bookseller, ghostwriter, assistant, and volunteer, happily taking on many roles within the publishing industry. Her breadth of experience has proven invaluable to her work as an agent, supporting authors through every step from proposal to publication and beyond. She holds a B.F.A. Writing, Literature, & Publishing with a concentration in poetry from Emerson College.

What she is seeking: Amanda is continuously building her client list in general-interest and upmarket nonfiction, spirituality and wellness, and literary fiction. She looks for the “wisdom factor” across genres and disciplines, especially authors who have an expertise they are eager to share with the world. Her favored subjects include (but are not limited to) history, religion, popular science, sociology, culinary arts, and creativity. In spirituality, Amanda’s approach is truly ecumenical, seeking leaders of all faith communities from Catholic nuns to Sikh entrepreneurs, from practical self-help to inspirational memoir. Literary fiction is a pursuit of passion. She gravitates towards works that address timeless concerns of the soul through the lens of modern life. Above all else, Amanda loves a well-crafted sentence.

How to submit: Please submit through Trident’s online form, directing its attention to Amanda O’Connor. Unsolicited queries should include a paragraph about yourself, a concise and thoughtful summary of the proposal, and your contact information. Please do not send a manuscript or proposal until you have been requested to do so.

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About Peter: Peter worked at The Park Literary Group, where he represented authors of middle grade and young adult fiction, and prior to that he was a story editor at Floren Shieh Productions, consulting on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based movie and TV entities. He graduated from NYU summa cum laude and lives in Brooklyn.

What he is seeking: Middle grade and young adult fiction across all genres, and he's also seeking out smart, high-concept adult fiction. In YA, he wants character-driven contemporary, magical realism, epic fantasy (but it must feel fresh), and realistic stories with some type of twist (speculative, fantastical or otherwise). In middle grade, he likes literary award-contenders, epic adventures (fantastical or not) and everything in-between. He has a special place in his heart for middle grade that is spooky, funny, irreverent—or all three.

How to submit: Send query to query [at] newleafliterary [dot] com. The word "Query" must be in the subject line, plus the agent's name. You may include up to 5 double-spaced sample pages within the body of the email. NO ATTACHMENTS, unless specifically requested.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The World's Largest Publishers, 2015

If you had to name the world's largest publisher, without looking at the list below, you'd probably say Penguin/Random House.

You would be correct if you were thinking of trade publishing. But Pearson, which publishes educational material, always wins the top slot. Thompson Reuters, a multi-media and information company geared toward business, is again number two.

What is interesting about this year's line-up is that two Chinese publishers made it into the top ten. China is a huge market, and it is largely closed. (There aren't many translation services that will translate a book into Chinese, and even then there are roadblocks. If you are thinking about translating your book, my recommendation would be to pick French and Spanish. BabelCube will do it for free.)

Without further ado...

The World's 57 Largest Book Publishers, 2015

From Publishers Weekly

Rank 2015Rank 2014Publishing Group or DivisionParent CompanyParent Country2014 Revenue in $M2013 Revenue in $M
11PearsonPearson PLCUK$7,072$7,801
23ThomsonReutersThe Woodbridge Company Ltd.Canada$5,760$5,576
32RELX GroupReed Elsevier PLC & Reed Elsevier NVUK/NL/US$5,362$6,093
44Wolters KluwerWolters KluwerNL$4,455$4,920
55Penguin Random HouseBertelsmann AGGermany$4,046$3,664*
6NEWPhoenix Publishing and Media CompanyPhoenix Publishing and Media CompanyChina$2,840$2,781
7NEWChina South Publishing & Media Group Co., LtdChina South Publishing & Media Group Co., LtdChina$2,579$2,237
86Hachette LivreLagardereFrance$2,439$2,851
910McGraw-Hill EducationApollo Global Management LLCUS$2,190 (Est.)$1,992
107HoltzbrinckVerlagsgruppe Georg von HoltzbrinckGermany$2,000$2,222
118Grupo PlanetaGrupo PlanetaSpain$1,943$2,161
1211ScholasticScholasticUS$1,822$1,792
1212WileyWileyUS$1,822$1,761
149Cengage Learning Holdings II LPApax and Omers Capital PartnersUS/Canada$1,708$1,747
1514China Publishing Group CorporationChina Publishing Group CorporationChina$1,495$1,499
1616Harper CollinsNews Corp.US$1,434$1,369
1715Houghton Mifflin HarcourtHoughton Mifflin Harcourt CompanyUS/Cayman Islands$1,372$1,379
1813De Agostini EditoreGruppo De AgostiniItaly$1,367N/A
1918Oxford University PressOxford UniversityUK$1,181$1,254
2017Springer Science and Business MediaEQT and GIC Investors;Sweden, Singapore$1,167$1,301
2121China Education Publishing & Media Holdings Co. Ltd.China Education Publishing & Media Holdings Co. Ltd.China$1,108$1,152
2220InformaInforma plcUK$1,075$1,185
2319ShueishaHitotsubashi GroupJapan$1,033$1,191
2422Kodansha Ltd.Kodansha Ltd.Japan$997$1,143
2523Egmont GroupEgmont International Holding A/SDenmark$896$1,101
2625ShogakukanHitotsubashi GroupJapan$859$1,011
2726BonnierThe Bonnier GroupSweden$836$976
2824Grupo SantillanaPRISA SASpain$793$1,020
2927Kadokawa PublishingKadokawa Holdings Inc.Japan$793$900
3028Simon & SchusterCBSUS$778$809
3130Woongjin ThinkBigWoongjin HoldingKorea$577$616
3229KlettKlett GruppeGermany$560$622
3331Groupe MadrigallMadrigallFrance$531N/A
3432Les Editions Lefebvre-SarrutFrojalFrance$482$559
3534Messagerie / GeMSMessagerie ItalianeItaly$460$543
3635Media ParticipationsMedia ParticipationsBelgium$426$481
3736MondadoriThe Mondadori GroupItaly$410$462
3839Cambridge University PressCambridge University PressUK$409$433
3938The Perseus Book GroupThe Perseus Book GroupUSA$400N/A
40NEWFrance LoisirsACTISSIA SASFrance$364
4041Westermann VerlagsgruppeMedien UnionGermany$364$401
4240SanomaSanoma WSOYFinland$355$422
4337CornelsenCornelsenGermany$346$456
4443Kyowon Co. Ltd.Kyowon Co. Ltd.Korea$312$353
4546La MartinièreLa MartinièreFrance$292$329
4648Haufe GruppePrivately ownedGermany$285$315
4647WEKAWEKA FirmengruppeGermany$286$316
4844RCS LibriRCS Media GroupItaly$271$348
4950Gakken Co. Ltd.Gakken Co. Ltd.Japan$257$297
5051Bungeishunju Ltd.Bungeishunju Ltd.Japan$216$253
5149OLMA Media GroupPrivately ownedCyprus$213$306
5245EKSMOPrivately ownedRussia$211$343
5354Groupe Albin MichelGroupe Albin MichelFrance$204$232
5456SaraivaSaraivaBrazil$199$215
55NEWEditora FTDEditora FTDBrazil$198$199
5655Abril EducaçãoAbril groupBrazil$196$216
5752Shinchosha Publishing Co, Ltd.Shinchosa Publishing Co, Ltd.Japan$176N/A
Not rankedHarlequinTorstar Corp.Canada$343$374

* 2013 Revenue figure is for Random House, before its merger with Penguin

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Skinny on Virtual Book Tours

What is a virtual book tour?

A  virtual book tour (aka blog tour) consists of lining up a series of bloggers to review your upcoming book (and/or conduct author interviews) during a time frame that corresponds to the release of your title. It is, as the name suggests, the internet version of an old-fashioned, in-the-flesh book tour.

Purpose of a virtual book tour

The purpose of a blog tour is to generate interest in your book. (This is called buzz.) That interest should pay off in sales, but it won't if you don't capitalize on it with other promotional tools such as giveaways, well-placed author interviews, and, of course, promotion of your blog tour on Twitter, Facebook, and on your own blog and website. Building an audience takes time, energy and planning. A blog tour is just a part of your promotional plan.

How effective is a virtual book tour?

That depends entirely on where reviews, spotlights, and interviews are posted. Highly trafficked sites will be more effective than sites with just a few followers. If you plan it right, a book tour that includes influential sites can create considerable buzz. The difficulty many Indie authors face is that they don't have the time it takes to research well-trafficked sites. And, of course, tours require some planning. Requests need to be sent out two to three months in advance of the release date.

Be aware that you will have to send out hundreds of email requests to get a decent number of reviews. (Unless you have written a steamy romance, the return rate is generally less than 10%.) But even 20 well-placed reviews and interviews can be highly effective. The reviews may not necessarily generate a lot of sales, but your name and the title of your book will have appeared on the net in 20 locations - hopefully with back links to your website - which will increase your exposure on search engines. (Don't forget to check if reviewers cross-post on Amazon and other venues, which will increase the reach of their review exponentially.)

To find bloggers in your genre see:

Top 12 Sites for Finding Reviewers




Top 5 Online Resources for Children's and YA Book Writers

You can also do a google search on "[Your genre] book reviews." This will yield you thousands of hits.

How long should a blog tour last?

In general, the length of the book tour is determined by the number of hosts. Ideally, you want one or two bloggers a day to be talking about your book. That means a 1-week tour may have between 7 and 14 bloggers. A 2-week tour would have 14 - 28. The reason you don't want everyone talking about your book at once is that, just like a conversation, it will be impossible for readers to pay attention. On the net, too much simultaneous talk looks like spam, which people routinely tune out.

Measuring success

Many authors measure the success of a blog tour by how many books they sell. (Be sure to look at your KDP, Nook, or Smashwords dashboard before you embark on a tour so you will have a point of comparison.) But there are other ways to measure success.

Getting your name out there is important, not just for your current book, but for future books. One way to determine if your blog tour is increasing your visibility is to sign up for Google Alerts, and create alerts for your name and for your book title. You can compare how often you are mentioned before and after the tour. Keep tracking to see if the buzz continues, and when it starts falling off. That will give you a time frame for how successful your tour has been, and it will allow you gauge the success of your other promotions. What you want to see is steady conversation about you and your book for several weeks prior to the release, and a couple of weeks after. (Don't forget to arrange for pre-orders. Amazon offers that feature as does Smashwords.)

Increased traffic to your blog and/or website is also a measurement of success. How many people visit your website during the tour, and are they following? (If you don't already have an email sign-up feature for your blog or website, now would be the time,) Followers are your fans! Don't be shy about sending them your news.

Book tour services

In light of the planing involved, some authors turn to book tour services rather than spend the time to organize their own tours. There are a couple of advantages to using a book tour service: 1) You don't have to do all the work, and 2) Tour services have lists of hundreds of reviewers and social media outlets.

There are also disadvantages: 1) There is no guarantee that the reviewers the tour services have on their lists will actually review your book, 2) The review sites may not be well-trafficked, and 3) You have to pay, sometimes quite a bit, for the service.

What to look for in a book tour service

First, check out their stats. If their site ranks in the millions on Alexa, it means they get very little traffic. (The lower the number the better. Numbers in the hundreds of thousands are good.) Also check their daily visitors and page views on 7SecretSearch. Look to see how many followers the main tour site has. If there are fewer than one hundred, don't even think of using the service.

Next, check to see who is on their list of bloggers. How many bloggers are listed? (Make sure it's a lot.) Go to those sites and check how many followers they have. This may be time consuming, but if the blog sites have few followers, it will do you little good to have them post an interview or review. While you are checking for followers, do a quick check for comments on posts, an "about" page, and other indications that the blogs are not "dummy blogs." (Some virtual book tour services have been known to set up fake blogs.)

Lastly, look for services that provide things you either can't or don't want to do yourself. These may include:
  • A banner
  • Posting on Net Galley
  • Distribution of a promotional package
Remember, tour services need to be for your genre. There is no point hiring a tour service that caters to romance bloggers if you write thrillers. So, examine the host blogs carefully.

Best services

Experiences with tour services vary tremendously, but there are a few that have been consistently recommended by authors. I've listed those which have decent site traffic, good social networking, and a large enough number of participating bloggers to make it worth your while.

Keep in mind that the success of a tour depends largely on how much an author is willing to contribute (e.g. contacting the blog hosts personally, making sure your website is current and mentions the tour, composing interviews and promotional material to send to hosts). Prices vary widely, and they do not always correspond with value.

For more information about paid blog tours see:

A Comparison of Book Blog Tour Services (Read the comment section)

Planning a Blog Tour? Think Twice (A critical review of blog tours)

7 Blog Tour sites 


For using social networks to set up your own tour, watch this informative video:

Setting Up A Blog Tour in 2015 - Social Media Platforms (Pt 4)
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Xpresso Book Tours

US Alexa rank: 300,347. Global rank: 587,555

Daily Traffic: Unique Visitors: 3,674. Pageviews: 14, 696 

Genre: Young Adult and New Adult in all genres 

What they offer:

Cover Reveal $40
  • No limit on participants (average is 40 - 60)
  • One day
  • Maximum Social Media Exposure through participating blogs
  • Should be planned 3 to 4 weeks in advance
  • Only for covers that have not been released anywhere online
Book Blitz $90
  • One day or window to post
  • No limit on participants (average is 70-90)
  • Maximum Social Media Exposure through participating blogs
  • Should be planned 3 to 5 weeks in advance
  • Must include a giveaway (one per blog or one shared Rafflecopter prize–note that one per blog will get you the most participants = more exposure.)
Review Query $70
  • Connect your book with thousands of bloggers, readers, and reviewers from both our host list and 30k/month page views;
  • Save hours from querying bloggers individually;
  • No wait list for this service! Can be posted within 2 business days.
Packages

All of the following packages include:
Reviews to the max $170
  • 6 days
  • Maximum sign ups (up to 40 blogs)
  • May include giveaways *Encouraged*
Rock the Block $120
  • 1 week
  • ~15 tour stops
Rock the Town $170
  • 1 to 2 weeks (your choice)
  • ~20 tour stops
Rock the World $225
  • 1 to 3 weeks (your choice)
  • ~30 tour stops
Rock the Stars $280
  • 1 to 4 weeks (your choice)
  • ~40 tour stops
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YA Bound

US Alexa rank: 272,973. Global rank: 1,213,266


Genre: Young Adult

What they offer:

15 stops - $50
20 stops - $70
25 stops - $90
30 stops - $120
35 stops - $140
40 stops - $180
50 stops - $200
Book blitz (1 day or 1 week) - $30

Cover reveals are free.
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Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours

Global Alexa rank: 672,407. Australia rank: 16,949

Genres: Fiction and nonfiction

What they provide (prices range from $199 to $799):
  • Bronze Tour Package – 10 stops (over the course of one month)
  • Silver Tour Package – 18-20 stops (over the course of one month)
  • Gold Tour Package – 30+ stops (over the course of two months)
  • Platinum Package – 45+ stops (over the course of three months)
All packages include:
  • Media Packet
  • Banner
  • Official tour page
  • Social network promotion
  • Inclusion in their PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads
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